Farmington River Report 4/28/17: To the Vicky belongs the spoils

I guided Vicky today and she did a bang-up job banging up some trout under the trusty yarn indicator. Vicky vastly undersold her fishing capabilities to me. She did a great job casting, mending, managing her drifts, keeping a positive vibe, and wading into some challenging water (750cfs, 50 degrees below the permanent TMA). Vicky told me she’d only caught five fish on the fly before today; we managed to hook nearly twice that many and land a bunch, all fat, healthy rainbows. We fished a size 14 Rainbow Warrior on top dropper and a size 14 Frenchy variant on point and took fish on both flies.  Our action picked up once the sun warmed the water (weather lottery winners, us) and a few Hendricksons started popping, but persistence and covering water paid off the most.

The skunk is off. We didn’t see a lot of fish caught, but we sure did see a ton of anglers for a weekday. Thanks to everyone who said hi.

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This got to be a familiar sight. Way to go, Vicky!

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How I’d rate the 2017 striper season so far

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What else is going on?

— I’ve been working on (and testing) a new large flatwing design/color scheme. I’ll publish it this spring.

— Just got back from a steelhead trip with youngest son Gordon. Report (meh, but fun) coming soon.

— Contest winners! Some of your flies have been tied, others are still bare hooks. I’ll try to get those out by the end of the month.

— Just finished a feature on summer smallmouth for Field & Stream. You can read it in a few months. Lots of other stuff in the publishing pipeline!

— Finally, while I don’t mind (and even appreciate) last minute guide requests, the best thing to do if you want to fish with me is book well in advance. (The people I’m taking out this week booked me moons ago.) Basically, my weekends are filled from now through June, so weekdays are best.

As always, thanks for reading currentseams.

Flirting with 500 followers, spring appearances

We’re winding down the spring 2017 appearance schedule:

“The Little Things 2.0,” Thursday, March 16, Farmington Valley TU, Unionville, CT. Doors open at 6:30pm. Meeting is open to the public. For more information, visit the FVTU website.

“The Little Things,” Monday, April 3, FCFGPA. This is a members only gig.

“The Little Things,” Thursday, May 4, Housatonic Fly Fishermen’s Association, Wallingford, CT. St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 65 North Main St, 7pm. Everyone welcome. For more information, visit the HFFA Facebook page.

Whew! Then we can all just go fishing.

On to the fantastic 500. One day we’re at 502 followers. The next, 499. So it goes in the razor-edge, cutthroat world of website subscribers won and lost. Once we stabilize over the 500 mark, we’ll have our usual currentseams follower appreciation giveaway. You, being a loyal reader, never let your subscription expire. Right?

Ooh. Ahh. Ohh. Striper swag from a previous giveaway.

Striper Soft-Hackles

Farmington River Report 12/6/16: Wet fly action in…December?

Trout blasting wet flies on the swing with a water temp of 36 degrees? Yes, indeed.

I fished the permanent TMA today from 9am-1pm. I was rigged for nymphs, and I spent the first 30 minutes bouncing along the bottom, desperately trying to ignore the growing number of trout slashing at W/S caddis. After the second or third time of telling myself that I was acting like an angler throwing Clousers at a school of stripers feeding on the surface, I disengaged the shot and re-tied the point fly to match the dropper: size 18 soft-hackled pheasant tail. It was by no means a proper wet fly rig, but what the heck — I’m lazy. Second cast, whack! A lovely late fall  wild brown. Next cast, ker-pow! (Those old enough to have watched will recognize the channeling of my inner 60s Batman TV show memories.) And so it went until the hatch waned.

The first fish of the day is always memorable, made even more so when it sports such finery.

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I got out to warm up, and after ten minutes the slashing resumed in earnest. Only this time it was tiny BWOs they were after. The fish proved to be more difficult to catch during this hatch; they wanted the fly on the dangle (if they wanted it at all). By now the sun was up good and proper, and the trout were for the most part hugging the shade line of the eastern side of the river. I had to work hard for the two I landed, but when you’re swinging wets and it’s December and you’ve never had this much success with that method this late in the year, you’re squarely in a no-kvetch zone.

One of the BWO trout, a low teens wild thang.

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But wait, there’s more. We also had a five-minute-blizzard of a midge hatch. I switched to dries for this, and fooled two on a size infinity Griffith’s Gnat, but sadly didn’t stick either fish.

And at this point, I won’t even bother writing about how I blanked on streamers.

On the way out I spoke with fellow guide Mark Swenson. Mark was Euro nymphing and had done quite well (in fact he landed one while we were chatting). He was also fishing small stuff, size 18s.

But for over two hours, I had the river all to myself. Just me, the trout, the bugs, and a December sunshine that made me feel like summer could come any day now.

Farmington River Report: Let’s swing

Avram wanted to learn the black arts of wet fly fishing, so our session was dedicated to the three fly wet team. Okay, there were some issues with wind and tangles. But — and it’s a good but — there were lots of hookups (at least a dozen). There were fish caught on all three flies (Squirrel and Ginger, Dark Hendrickson, BHSHPT, all Avram’s ties — how cool is that?). And there was the satisfaction of learning something new (and doing well at it). Like Tuesday, the hatches were meh, but we basked in our glorious solitude, and were thankful for all the fish that decided to jump on.

I haven’t hooked a tiger trout in some time. But Avram has.

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He got into some bigger fish too, like this snub-nosed rainbow.

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There he goes again. Avram took them on the mended swing, the dangle, and short-line deep.

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Some lovely spring color against drab earth tones.

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Farmington River Report 4/19/16: “I suck at nymphing.”

That’s how my client David summed up his subsurface skills on the phone.

It may have been true a few days ago. But not today. No sir.  Today, friends, David was a steely-eyed nymphing missile man. He put a hurting on the trout with a yarn indicator, a single BB shot, some Pheasant Tails, and a fierce resolve to overcome that northern banshee we call wind. I don’t usually count fish, but we surpassed the dozen mark today. Way to go, David!

It must be the height of Hendrickson madness if the UpCountry lot is full at 8:45am on a Tuesday. We fished two spots outside the permanent TMA, and did well in both locations. (You know it’s going to be a good day when you hook a fish on your first demo cast.)  We fished a drop-shot rig under one of my home-brew yarn indicators; the top dropper was a size 16 soft-hackled Pheasant Tail, and our point fly was a size 12 BHSHPT or an Eagan’s Frenchie (thanks, Pete!) We took fish on all three flies.

Wind was a constant challenge, but I think we’ll take unfavorable conditions if a good bite is part of the package. Hatches were meh. There was a micro burst of Hendricksons shortly before 3pm, but it was over in a matter of minutes. David capped off his day by swinging a team of wets and hooking his first trout on that setup.

Yup. Today did not suck.

A portrait of a dangerous nymphing machine.

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Writing, fishing, tying, guiding, presenting

The currentseams.com headquarters is humming today. Here’s what’s going on.

To start, I’ve made a few small changes to the site’s format. I’ve added a “Book a guided trip/contact me” link along the masthead. You’ll find my email and my phone number within. These are the best ways to start a conversation with me. Please don’t try to book a trip or request an order of flies in the comments section of a random thread. I really appreciate your cooperation on this. I’ve also added a link to the Compleat Angler to the right sidebar. Scott and his team have always been good to me, and I’ll bet they’ll be good to you, too.

Speaking of guided trips, my spring calendar is beginning to fill up. Weekends generally aren’t good for me in the spring; so if you want to get out with me, try to have a few weekday options in mind. Half-days are four hours, and a good way to spend some quality time on the water.

The word machine continues to roll. Look for articles in American Angler, Field & Stream, Mid Atlantic Fly Fishing Guide,the  J. Stockard blog, and more in the near future.

A new currentseams Facebook page is coming. My original page was intended solely as a fishing-related endeavor. However, family and friends have glommed onto it, so I need to create a fishing business only page. If you’re a current fishing friend on Facebook, be on the lookout for the new page (I’ll announce it here) as the old one will no longer have any angling content.

Dagnabbit, I owe you all some videos, both tying and Q&A. I beg your patience. All good things to those…etc.

‘Tis the season for winding down on presentations. That can only mean good fishing weather approacheth! I’m looking forward to the Fly Fishers’ Club of Harrisburg’s annual banquet on April 8th.

Finally, we’re getting close to the magic number of 400 official currentseams.com followers. As usual, we’ll be doing a fly goodie bag giveaway. Thank you again for your readership and support.

As they say on M*A*S*H, “That is all.”

I’ve been on a saltwater tying kick. It’s been a long time since I tackled some bigger flawings, so tying those Rock Islands (foreground) felt like reuniting with an old flame. Here’s to a  stronger herring run this year!

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